After ten years of peace, Burundi is experiencing political unrest. In the midst of the disturbing news about Burundi, the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund has a good news story to share.
Among the 12 development projects that have been funded by the Student Grants Program, we have one project that has developed and maintained a strong association, acquired and distributed goats, planted and harvested crops and generated and saved money. The success of the development project has attracted some visitors to the project that is in a community near Kabezi, an area that was seriously affected by the 1993 to 2005 war.
The big, good news story for this project is that the association has generated income, saved money and recently purchased property. Yes, the development project owns property, the development project has made an investment; the development project has equity and the development project is building a better future for the association and its members and their families.
Until now, the project has rented land to grow crops collectively in order to distribute some of the harvest, sell most of the harvest and generate income for the association. Rent has been one of the expenses. From the revenue that has been generated and a few private gifts, the association saved enough money to purchase its own land and, thereby, eliminated the need to pay rent.
The purchasing of land by the project association is a very significant development in an agrarian society. By owning its own land, the association will not need to pay rent. Moreover, the land represents a collectively owned asset that will help sustain the project and the secure the association long into the future; the land will always have value.
• Improved Food Security at Kabezi, Marie Nadège Twagirayezu and Anicet Nyandwi
From a small development grant, this well-conceived project has made very good progress. The project managers, Marie Nadège Twagirayezu and Anicet Nyandwi, and the beneficiaries, poor women, have done a great job! The project began with 10 beneficiaries who received a goat and agreed to contribute to the association, distribute a goat kid to another woman and work on the collective crops. Now, there are 30 women beneficiaries; the first 20 are in the first association and next 20 women will form their own association.
The project has distributed 30 goats and provided training on animal care; 10 women now have 2 goats, 20 more women have 1 goat and there are 7 kids ready to distribute to the next 7 women who agree to join the second association. That’s, 47 goats in total!
By renting a demonstration site, the project has been active in collectively growing crops and providing training. The beneficiaries have been trained in composting, organic fertilizing, growing beans, soya beans and maize (corn) and crop diversification and erosion prevention. The project has distributed 40 kg of beans, 40 kg of soya beans and 40 kg of maize. The most recent crops have been cassava and sweet potatoes.
The project has a sophisticated association that holds regular meetings and collects monthly contributions from its members. The association has generated a significant amount of income that is kept in a box with two locks and the box and each key are kept by separate members. The money is used to provide small loans to association members for small income generating activities.
The association will continue with its association meetings, capacity development activities and demonstration site cultivation. The first association will continue to assist in the development of a second association of 20 members who agree to participate in the same development activities.
When we visit the development projects, we see a lot of curious children. On my last visit to this project, I picked up a lot of black burrs on my white socks. Three of the children started to pick the burrs out of my socks and I joined in the effort. Later, I could not resist taking a photograph of the children.